Cracks – kintsugi for dVerse

On Friday night the weather was glorious. We threw some towels into the car and drove to the beach. Just as we pulled up by the pebble ridge, my friend Tracey pulled up next to us, with her two daughters, Jojo and Julia. We climbed the ridge, laughing and stumbling, negotiating the warm, round stones – dull grey, sometimes splintered through with bright, white quartz. The wide bay faces west, so the afternoon sun sits out to sea, setting eventually behind the island, but still high in the sky when we arrived. The sea was clear blue, sparkling in the sunlight. The tide was on the way in, and we hurried to get into the water before it reached the pebbles. Jojo helped her sister into the water, and then helped her again when it was time to get out. Then we sat on the warm rocks, soaking in the sunlight, warming our bones, talking, laughing, enjoying being together. Just being together is a miracle.

Just over a year ago, Julia had a massive brain bleed. She was nine. Amazingly, there was an ambulance driving through the village when her mum dialled 999, and even more amazingly the air ambulance happened to be at our local hospital when she arrived there. She was flown 150 miles to a specialist centre, where the surgeon had just finished operating and was able to wait for her to arrive, and take her straight to theatre. Even so, she spent three weeks in intensive care, and three months in hospital.

I watched the family crack, but hold together. I saw how much work Tracey put into keeping things going, and how much love and care surrounded them, but at times it wasn’t enough. The stress was overwhelming, the strains became almost too much, but somehow each of them was able to reach out and hold on, and pull things back together again. Sometimes Tracey was the strong one, sometimes her mum stepped in, sometimes her husband shouldered things. Sometimes Jojo took on more than a 14 year old really should. There were cracks, yes, but they were filled up with love and family, and kindness. There will always be cracks, I think, but that love that fills them has made them part of the family story and the family strength.

Summer sun on sea
moments of love and healing
warmth of air and stone

Grace at dVerse is tonight’s bartender. She asks us to think about the wonderful art of kintsugi, mending things so that the repair becomes part of the beauty of the piece. ” In Japanese, the word kintsugi means “golden rejoining,” and refers to the Zen philosophy of acknowledging flaws, embracing change, and restoring an object with a newfound beauty” she explains. The story I thought of is all there, it needs no explanation. 

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21 thoughts on “Cracks – kintsugi for dVerse

  1. A beautiful haibun Sarah! When these cracks are filled with love it so often makes a family closer and stronger and what a gift that all the medical care she needed was available at a time when every second counts – as if guardian angels were healing the cracks from above as well xxx

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  2. Using the ancient art of filling cracks wth gold, of turning tragedy into beauty, makes terrific fodder for our poetic metaphors. I love what I’m encountering out here on the trail. Thanks for stopping by my site.

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  3. I love the haibun Sarah ~ I believe a family can weather any storm if everyone just hold on, and put in a lot of love and patience ~ I celebrate the accomplishment of the family, cheers ~

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  4. Those cracks were filled with solid gold. The love and compassion of a caring family. Even the miraculous events that lead to her healing would be less than meaningful without a wonderful family standing behind her. Your story tells of so many wonderful things, it should be a full length magazine article. Very nice

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  5. I love the way the first paragraphs paints an idyllic scene and ends with a hint of something else, leading us back to the event that caused them to almost crack. How terrifying for the family and for a nine-year-old child. It’s amazing how cracks can be filled with love, kindness,family, and friends like you, Sarah. The cracks make you all unique. And the warmth of the haiku fills the cracks with gold.

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    • It was absolutely terrifying, and an amazing example of how well the NHS can do things. She’s still having some difficulties, but it seems like things improve and then plateau and then improve again. In some ways, I think this is the most stressful time. I know some families break in situations like this, but they have held together, and lots of people came in and offered support. I did sit there on Friday, and think how amazing it was that we were all there, and that Julia was playing in the waves, how different things were a year ago, how lucky we were that she is so well. And then this prompt came up. I’m using the haibuns to journal my year this year, and I’m always surprised at how they make me observe things, and how appropriate the prompts seem to be.

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      • Our NHS is fantastic – no matter what any politician or newspaper says, it’s helped and saved so many people we know and love. I hope Julia continues to improve.
        That’s a great idea, to use the haibuns as a journal!

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  6. I love the juxtaposition of the first and second paragraphs. The appreciation of togetherness in nature, of sun and warm rocks that is heightened when faced with mortality. And the haiku is a lovely distillation of the above theme.

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  7. The prose put me in the beach, it was beautiful and the tragic incidents are heartbreaking, but I’m glad that little girl made it through! A perfect example of Kintsugi, I might say. Different people, different materials holding together a cup of family. Well done!

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  8. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of love Sarah. As I read I became quite emotional thinking of Julia and her family, and I am so glad she continues to recover as love surrounds her, filling the cracks of hurt and stress.
    Kind regards
    Anna :o]

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